Garmin-Asus to show its first GPS smartphone of 2010

The Garmin-Asus M10 with 3.5-inch touchscreen will debut in Taiwan on Thursday

Garmin-Asus plans to display its first GPS smartphone of 2010 on Thursday, the M10, loaded with the latest version of Microsoft Windows Mobile 6.5.3 and a 3.5-inch touchscreen.

The M10 has the same GPS (Global Positioning System) capability as the Garmin 1470T, a device for use in cars.

Garmin tied up with Asustek Computer to sell phones with GPS and a host of location-based services under the Garmin-Asus brand.

The venture has launched two handsets, the Nuvifone G60 with a Linux OS on board and the Nuvifone M20 with Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional. The M10 will be its third smartphone, and the company is widely expected to announce its first smartphone with Google's Android mobile OS on board at the Mobile World Congress, which opens in Barcelona on Feb. 15.

Retailers in Taiwan are already taking orders for the M10 at a price of NT$13,900 (US$434). Delivery of the handsets will begin on Feb. 6, according to the Garmin-Asus Web site.

The device comes with 4GB of internal flash storage for songs, pictures and other data as well as a MicroSD card slot to add up to 32GB of additional storage. It has a 5.0-megapixel camera on board that can also take video.

No further details of the handset were immediately available.

Location-based services on Garmin-Asus handsets include Garmin maps and software that displays a variety of information including points of interest, friends' houses and the recommended route to take to avoid traffic.

They are also designed to deliver locally relevant information to people, including movie times, nearby restaurants and more.

Pictures taken using the onboard digital camera will automatically be tagged with date, time and location data via geotagging.

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